I'd been worried this morning when I saw the photo of Coach Paterno on the front page of the Daily Collegian, surrounded by supportive students last night outside his home. I appreciated the emotions of the students; I understood why Paterno would be grateful to those students. But I knew that the image of a smiling Coach Paterno with his arm raised in the midst of the crowd was precisely the wrong image for Penn State to display to the world in the unfolding scandal of sex abuse of children on our campus.
Tonight on CNN I see an outpouring of support for Coach Paterno outside Old Main, and I have to think this is the wrong way to show that support. And what I am hearing from the journalists underscores that concern.
As the camera showed shouting students holding up signs, the anchor asked the on-scene reporter for help understanding what we are seeing. The anchor implored the reporter to help viewers wrap their heads around the seemingly inexplicable mood of the crowd. Why, she wondered, this mood, this spirit, when the events at the heart of our troubles are the rapes of young boys on our campus and the utter failure of our trusted leaders to respond to those events appropriately. Is this the kind of school Penn State is?
That was her question. I hope our community will quickly show that the answer is "no."